2004 Hyundai Santa Fe LX 3.5L 4WD from North America


Good 4x4 for comfort, cost and everyday needs


One freezing morning the car make a weird noise when pulling out of the parking bay, then back wheels locked. Lasted for 3 seconds then stopped.

No other problems so far.

General Comments:

I really like this car so far. I wanted a luxurious interior, good fuel economy and 4x4 ability to get me to work in light to moderate snow/rain.

The final choices were the Toyota Highlander, a 2000 Lexus RX300 with 40K miles or the Jeep Liberty. The Jeep lost out when I sat in one and found the interior to be too basic. I found the Highlander to be expensive, although looking back now I spent an almost equal sum on the Santa Fe. I wasn't expecting to though :) The Highlander was a good alternative, but I never got around to testing one out though. I do LOVE Toyota. What really swayed me was all the glowing reviews of the Santa Fe on this website. And the Hyundai warranty. That warranty is unbeatable in the USA.

Some things I like:


The 4x4 ability has powered me through 4inches + of snow on the way to work. I rate the power of this car. I can't wait to test it out in some dirt off roading which I will do once the car is a bit older and I am less protective of it. NOTE: The Hyundai notes and warranty info state that you are not covered by the warranty or the roadside support when off roading.

The interior is solid and beautiful in all gray leather. Really top class interior, could be in a Lexus or Mercedes.

The Monsoon sound system is excellent with in-dash 6 disk changer. It's a pretty serious power system, with an amp mounted under the passenger seat.

Several times I have had to stop VERY quickly on I95 in rush hour traffic and the ABS brakes have stopped on a dime without sliding.

The trunk came with a cargo mat and storage net. This is great for when you want to store some groceries or shopping or anything you don't want to slide around in the trunk.

The heated seats are great in cold weather.

The 24/7 roadside support from Hyundai (or their 3rd party agents) is a good security blanket.


The fuel gage is questionable. It shoots from 3/4 full to 1/4 full over 40 miles.

The driver's legroom is not great. My right knee touches the center console and the driver's seat does not go far back enough. Could do with 20% more room for my legs under the steering column.

When needing to suddenly accelerate to top speed to pass somebody on the interstate, there is about a 2 second delay between flooring the pedal and the car rocketing to full speed. This is because it downshifts 2 or 3 gears. I could do without this delay.

When driving in manual mode, the gearbox won't shift gears up if it thinks it would be better not to. When I drive in this mode I want the gearbox to do what I want it to do, no questions asked.


A good value car. I really like it so far.

Fuel economy is good in this class. I get 18 - 20 mpg on a combination of highway and city driving.

The car looks sexy in all black too.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th February, 2004

30th Jul 2004, 19:56

I am curious to know how tall the driver is. I am 6'0" and am considering buying a Santa Fe. I would like to know if my height will be a problem with this vehicle.

16th Sep 2004, 10:00

The reviewer of the car (me) is 6' 2". Reasonably large person, 200 LBs. 8 months on and I still like the car although the transmission has been bumpy lately. I need to take it in for a repair.